Phew! You made it to Spring Break. After juggling soccer practice, homework, and packed lunches for weeks, Spring Break arrived and brought the next parenting challenge — keeping the kids from bouncing off the walls.
Fear not. While plopping down the brood for a repeat viewing of Encanto may be tempting, most moms and dads have heard enough about Bruno. Instead, pack sunscreen and wet wipes for an affordable adventure on the town. And most of these events last long after Spring Break is over, so you can keep the fun going as the school days count down and temps start to climb.
Los Trompos Experience at the Shops of La Cantera The whole family can take a spin inside these kinetic sculptures, designed by Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena to mimic life-sized tops. And since they are in one of San Antonio’s largest shopping centers, parents can get some errands done too. Free daily through April 9.
Morgan’s Wonderland An amusement park for people of all abilities, this Wonderland has a sensory zone, sand pits, a train ride, and playgrounds that every family member can enjoy. Though the park will be open the entirety of Spring Break, check the calendar for other March dates. Admission starts at $13.
Nature Exploration at the San Antonio Botanical Garden Break out the purple backpack. Every youngster’s inner Dora Marquez will adore the outdoor fun at the Family Adventure Garden. Each week features a different activity to inspire a lifelong love of nature. Included with $13-$16 admission, Wednesdays through October 25, 10-10:30 am. Poolside Movies at San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter Go un poco loco at this outdoor screening of Pixar’s classic Coco. Food and drinks will be available for purchase starting at 6:30 pm. Free screenings March 11 and 18, 7-9 pm.
Spring Break Family Day at San Antonio Museum of Art Who says a little learning can’t be squeezed into Spring Break? Ties to SAMA’s latest exhibition, this exciting afternoon offers art-making experiences, story times, food vendors, performances, and more. Free, March 14, 10 am-7 pm.
Super Fun Saturday with H-E-B Starting March 18, San Antonio’s beloved grocer will host a series of third-Saturday events sure to keep even the most gregarious child engaged. Crafts, vendors, live music, and more will delight the whole family, while monthly themes like Spring is Blooming provide adorable opportunities to fill the photo album. Free, first Saturday of every month through October, 11 am-1pm.
Union Pacific Railroad Splashpad Whatever the threat to an Explorer’s upholstery, kids can while away hours dashing through dancing waters. With wheelchair accessibility, comfy lawn furniture, and plenty of shade, Yanaguana Garden might have the best splashpad in the city. Plus, nearby treats from Dough Pizzeria Napoletana and Paletería San Antonio keep hangry fits at bay. Free daily, 9am-9 pm.
"Very Eric Carle: A Very Hungry, Quiet, Lonely, Clumsy, Busy Exhibit" at the DoSeum Yes, the exhibit name is quite a mouthful, but what would one expect from something so jam-packed? Inspired by the Very Hungry Caterpillar author’s beloved works, the activities include weaving a web and composing a night symphony. $16 admission for ages 1 and up. Wednesday - Monday through April 16
March brings some stellar exhibits to Alamo City with themes as varied as women and Latinx artists to dogs, dinosaurs, saints, and the Wild West. The Fronteriza project at Presa House focuses on women artists in Texas contemplating the U.S.-Mexico border through their art; “Alchemy” features Latin American artists demonstrating the magical process of transformation that occurs when art is created. Meanwhile, the Witte introduces viewers to the dinosaurs of the Antarctic, where 200 million years ago these Early Jurassic theropods thrived, while “Night of Artists” at the Briscoe celebrates cowboys. There's so much art to devour, so giddy up and get out there.
“Alchemy: Works on Paper” — Now through April 1 “Alchemy” features Latin American and Texas-based artists, and demonstrates the power of the brushstroke and the seemingly magical process of transformation that occurs in the creation of an artwork. The flexible quality of paper, and its two-dimensional constraints, is manipulated in this way to blur the realms of reality and fantasy. The immediacy of drawing, collage, and photograms find kinship with the multi-step techniques of printmaking and papermaking. In the case of Jesse Amado’s “Machine,” materials such as ink and graphite produce an elaborate three-dimensional drawing, while “A Bailar,” by Cisco Jimenez playfully uses collage to deconstruct the human body.
The Witte Museum
“Antarctic Dinosaurs” — Now through September 10 Visit Antarctica at the Witte: Now one of the most isolated and dangerous environments on Earth, Antarctica was a bountiful, forested habitat where dinosaurs thrived 200 million years ago. “Antarctic Dinosaurs” transports visitors back in time to discover the dinosaurs that ruled these now-fossilized forests. Explore the plants and animals that once flourished in the thick forests of Jurassic Antarctica, then part of the supercontinent Gondwanaland, and learn how the land drifted and changed to become the polar continent we know today. View fossils that reveal Antarctica’s past, alongside large-scale replicas of dinosaur species unique to the continent. Marvel at the 25-foot-long Cryolophosaurus, the largest and most complete Early Jurassic theropod in the world, and a new-to-science juvenile sauropodomorph.
“Sergio Mata: Saint Anthony” — Now through March 30 On June 13, 1691, San Antonio was named after Saint Anthony, the Spanish version of the name. Sergio C Mata, a 31-year-old artist from San Antonio, creates modern colorful portraits of Saint Anthony with titles that reflect the color palette like, “Cantaloupe Anthony,” “Lavender Anthony,” and “Citrine Anthony.” The artist’s intention is that the Saint Anthony’s will “watch over those who live within his city,” Mata says in an artist statement. “My art project will hopefully show the entire world how San Antonio's belief in art and culture is above all miraculous.”
Blue Star Contemporary
“The Dog Show: Hiromi Stringer” — Now through June 4 Almost 30 years ago, Hiromi Stringer was inspired by seeing a Siberian Husky dog on a busy street in Bangkok, and this later informed his work in “Dog Show: Time Traveler Umeyama’s Drawings from the 21st Century.” Intertwined with the various dogs in the gouache and sumi ink on oriental paper paintings is the story of Umeyama, a mediocre scholar who time-travels to various times and places. His base point is the Japan of 170 years ago when the country was under government-enforced national isolation. “There are many parallels between him and myself,” Stringer shares in a statement, “but he is not my alter ego. I use him to see the world more objectively through his subjective view, yet some traces of my subjectivity are not denied in my works.”
Presa House Gallery
“Fronteriza: Aquí y Allá"— Now through April 15 The Fronteriza project focuses on women artists in Texas contemplating the U.S.-Mexico border through their art. The nine participating artists bring a different perspective from uniquely personal experiences depicted in various media and techniques, such as ceramics, fibers, textiles, painting, drawing, photography, video, and performance. As women, the collective approaches art and themes about the border collaboratively; the interconnectedness in their work includes aspects of the female perspective in family history, culture, place, and politics.
The McNay Art Museum
“Womanish: Audacious, Courageous, Willful Art” — Now through July 2 "Womanish” features artwork by women acquired by the McNay from 2010 to the present. The title of this exhibition is inspired by Alice Walker’s essay "Womanist," in which she defines womanish as “usually referring to outrageous, audacious, courageous or willful behavior.” By highlighting the wide variety of ways women express themselves through art, this exhibition aims to celebrate the term “womanish,” which is all too often considered derogatory. The work represented spans over 90 years and includes portraiture, abstraction, landscapes, and more.
Briscoe Western Art Museum
Courtesy of the Witte Museum
Antarctic Dinosaurs at the Witte Museum.
“2023 Night of Artists”— March 26 through May 7 This annual event allows the public to view and purchase over 270 new works of painting, sculpture, and mixed media by 80 of the country’s leading contemporary Western artists. The wide range of artworks reflect the vastness of the great American West: From scenic landscapes and inspired Native Americans, classic cowboys, and dazzling vaqueros, to stunning wildlife and detailed portraiture, “Night of Artists” has something for everyone enthralled with the Wild West.
Antarctica today can be a harsh land of ice and snow, but 200 million years ago it was a bountiful, forested habitat where dinosaurs thrived. In "Antarctic Dinosaurs," visitors can step back in time to discover the dinosaurs that ruled these now-fossilized forests. The exhibition immerses vistiors in the thrilling hunt for never-before-seen fossils and sheds new light on Earth’s ever-changing climate and geology.
Visitors can explore the plants and animals that once flourished in the thick forests of Jurassic Antarctica, then part of the supercontinent Gondwanaland, and learn how the land drifted and changed to become the polar continent we know today. They can also view fossils that reveal Antarctica’s past alongside large-scale replicas of dinosaur species unique to the continent, and marvel at the 25-foot-long Cryolophosaurus, the largest and most complete Early Jurassic theropod in the world, and a new-to-science juvenile sauropodomorph.
Finally, visitors can witness the persistent challenges and extreme conditions of expeditions to the “Lost Continent” to gain an understanding of the tough working conditions for the scientists who must rely on an arsenal of modern power tools to extract fossils from rock and bring these discoveries to light.
All you need is art this month in Alamo City with fresh and fearless exhibits: Some will tickle your fancy; others, your psyche. Explore JooYoung Choi’s imaginary world at The Contemporary, or immerse yourself in the history of the Mexican-American War of 1848 with representations from various artists at the Centro Cultural Aztlan. Guy Blair brings San Antonio’s unhoused population into careful focus with painted portraits at the Semmes Gallery, while the San Antonio Museum of Art transports viewers into “Roman Landscapes” providing birds-eye perspectives and fantastical views. There's something for everyone this February.
Centro Cultural Aztlan
“Segundo de Febrero: Chicana/Chicano Reunion” — Now through February 24 February 2 marks the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The landmark treaty ended the Mexican-American War, redistributed the border, and created a new bicultural population. In this exhibition, a group of celebrated artists will explore the impact of broken treaties, new borders, and their effects on Latino, Chicano, and indigenous history and culture.
The Contemporary at Blue Star
“JooYoung Choi: Songs of Resilience from the Tapestry of Faith” — February 3 through May 7 Through painting, video, sculpture, animation, music ,and installation art, multidisciplinary world-builder JooYoung Choi documents the interconnecting narratives of a highly structured, expansive, fictional land she calls the "Cosmic Womb." Her work explores issues of identity, belonging, trauma, and resilience through the sci-fi/fantasy genre. This exhibition introduces the Cosmic Womb multiverse and highlights some of its key characters and narratives. In creating a world that explores loss, healing, and growth based upon a connective web of belief and faith in oneself, Choi expresses human resiliency and the strength that can be found through the power of storytelling.
Centro de Artes
“Soy de Tejas: A Statewide Survey of Latinx Art” — February 9 through July 2 Soy de Tejas presents the works of 40 native Texan and Texas-based contemporary artists who reflect the diverse and beautiful complexity of Latinx identities. The more than 100 artworks forge new connections and explore intersections from a nexus of artists who ambitiously blaze a trail of contemporary artmaking, presenting fresh Latinx perspectives and experiences while amplifying the voices of a segment of Texas' most inspiring established and emerging artists. “The exhibit explores themes ranging from race, class, and gender to migration, mythmaking, displacement, and indigeneity," says curator Rigoberto Luna on the gallery's website. "In contrast, many works center on celebrating joyful customs, culture, and traditions that unite and sustain our communities in the face of a multitude of challenges."
Semmes Gallery - University of the Incarnate Word
“Homeless in San Antonio” — February 17 through March 17 Guy Blair is largely self-taught as an artist in the medium of pastels and watercolor. He always wanted “to do” art but was devoted to his ministry as a priest. For the past 40 years as a Catholic priest, he has ministered to both the deaf and homeless communities. In the past eight years, he has seriously paid attention to his desire to paint. This exhibit is a blending of his service to the homeless as well as his interest in art. “As we walk by homeless people on the streets of San Antonio, most people tend to look through them or judge them as perhaps deserving of the situation they are in,” Blair said in an artist statement. “This attitude allows people to build an emotional barrier, giving them permission not to connect with the homeless as destitute people whose suffering and tears are as real as our own.”
The Carver Cultural Community Center
“Alain Gakwaya"— February 23 through April 14 Alain Gakwaya hails from Rwanda and is a self-described, “activist, artist, and adventurer.” His love for art began in the 3rd grade, when his teacher requested that he draw for his entire class. Specializing in portraiture, Gakwaya paints to tell his story and the stories of his homeland. Though he's now based in San Antonio, he draws inspiration from everyday life in Africa and specifically his home country of Rwanda.
San Antonio Museum of Art
Courtesy of the Carver Cultural Community Center
Alain-Gakwaya's work is coming to the Carver Cultural Community Center this month.
“Roman Landscapes: Visions of Nature and Myth from Rome and Pompeii” — February 24 through May 21 The exhibition features 65 wall paintings, sculptures, mosaics, and cameo glass and silver vessels created in Roman Italy between 100 BC and AD 250. “Roman Landscapes” introduces visitors to the cultural and archaeological contexts of Roman landscapes, beginning with mural paintings and relief sculptures that depict coastal villas and rustic shrines. These works display the imaginary aspects of Roman images of the natural world, connecting the genre’s appearance to the political and social upheaval of the late Republic and early Empire. Fantastical views of Egypt and Greece reflect ancient fascination with these celebrated lands incorporated into the Roman Empire. Mythological paintings then reveal landscape scenes as settings for hazardous encounters between humans and the gods.
Night of Artists was created to celebrate Western art and the Briscoe would not exist without the artistic seeds that Night of Artists planted. The effort and funds to establish the museum grew from Night of Artists, making it a vital piece of the museum’s history as well as its signature annual event. Night of Artists serves as the primary fundraiser for the museum, benefiting the Briscoe’s full array of exhibitions, engagement, and educational programs throughout the year.
Texans love to get outdoors, and we're lucky to have 89 state parks, historic sites, and natural areas to explore across our great state. Totaling more than 640,000 acres, these public lands are reaching a major milestone in 2023 and one traveling exhibition is commemorating the event throughout the year.
Kicking off at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, "The Art of Texas State Parks"will honor the Centennial Celebration of Texas State Parks with a stunning visual survey of more than 30 parks. Featuring works by some of the state's most celebrated artists, the display will start at the Bullock on January 7 and run until April 30 before moving on to other cities later this year.
Several years in the making, the exhibition is the result of a collaboration between the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, and the Bullock Texas State History Museum. H-E-B provided additional support for the project as a presenting sponsor of the Texas State Parks Centennial Celebration.
“We are grateful for the partnership that is bringing 'The Art of Texas State Parks' to museums across Texas, spreading the message about these natural treasures that belong to us all,” said TPWD Executive Director David Yoskowitz, Ph.D., in a release.
In total, 30 Texas artists were commissioned to create works celebrating parks across Texas, all with the mission to increase public awareness of Texas parklands and heighten their popular appeal through their elegant and inspired works. Participating artists represent multiple regions across the state, including: DavidGriffin (Lubbock/ Dallas); Pat Gabriel, Billy Hassell, and Jim Malone (all of Fort Worth); Mary Baxter (Marfa); Charles Criner (Houston); Ric Dentinger (San Antonio/Santa Fe NM); Fidencio Duran (Austin); Brian Grimm (Fredericksburg); Clemente Guzman (San Antonio); and many more.
Along with the traveling exhibit, the project also includes a commemorative book published by Texas A&M Press, which is already available online through Texas A&M Press, the Bullock Museum Store, and Amazon. Proceeds from book sales and the sale of the artwork through Foltz Fine Art in Houston will be donated to Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation to benefit Texas State Parks.
“It was a real pleasure to see the passion these artists brought to this project, and we’re thrilled these works will be on display at prestigious museums across Texas,” said Andrew Sansom, co-author of the commemorative book and founder of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, in the release. “It is our fervent hope that these works of art will inspire present and future generations of Texans to forever appreciate and protect their parks.”
After its spring stay in Austin, the exhibit will travel to the Houston Museum of Natural Science from May 26 to October 1 before heading to the Panhandle Plains Museum in Canyon from October 27 through February 18, 2024. The exhibit will also be displayed in 2024 in College Station, Albany, and Tyler.
Those looking to participate in the Centennial Celebration all year long can visit TexasStateParks.org/100years, which includes info on the ongoing partnership between Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and TPWD, as well as details about special community events taking place at state parks throughout 2023.
Courtesy of TPWD
David Caton, Blinn Trail Rapids, Garner State Park, 2019, oil on canvas, 30x30 in.
Located in a two-hour triangle between Austin and San Antonio is Kerrville, the official capital of the Texas Hill Country. Founded in 1889 with a spirit of innovation, the city still holds fast to its entrepreneurial roots as the home of James Avery Artisan Jewelry and a plethora of galleries, museums, and shops.
It's also an outdoor lover's dream. Kerrville is situated along the banks of the Guadalupe River, which serves as the map for the multi-use Kerrville River Trail and provides opportunities for fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding.
Here are more activities to discover during your time in Kerrville:
Art for all
The world-famous brand James Avery Artisan Jewelry calls Kerrville home, and visitors can learn about the history of the company in a museum-like setting while also shopping for their very own piece of jewelry to take home.
The company's presence is felt throughout the city, most notably with the popular Mother's Love James Avery memorial sculpture right outside the Kerr Arts & Cultural Center. This is one of the 28 public art pieces dotted throughout downtown — keep an eye out for “Lupe” the Guadalupe Bass in Louise Hays Park and the “Welcome To Kerrville” mural.
Find peace with the The Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden, featuring eight bronze sculptures inspired by Christian scriptures, including a seven-story-tall steel cross, that are surrounded by a prayer rock garden.
Visit the campus of the Hill Country Arts Foundation in nearby Ingram and come face to face with Stonehenge II, a nearly life-size replica of the famous stones in England that also include two 13-foot-tall Easter Island head copies.
Head into the 20,000-square-foot Rivers Edge Gallery to view an expansive variety of contemporary and traditional artwork, or explore life during the frontier days at The Museum of Western Art. The museum also offers workshops on such skills as leather working and candle making.
The Schreiner Mansion Historic Site, built by former Texas Ranger Charles Schreiner, offers a guided tour of the mansion with history on the family that ran a major department store in Kerrville (now Schreiner Goods) and established the Schreiner Institute, now known as Schreiner University.
Catch live music and other events at the iconic Arcadia Live Theater, see a play in the intimate black box VK Garage Theater, or pay tribute to Point Theatre, the oldest-running outdoor theater in Texas. The Kathleen C. Cailloux City Center for the Performing Arts also hosts Symphony of the Hills, nationally acclaimed musicians, and theater performances by Playhouse 2000.
Events for everyone
There's something for every season here, with the spring bringing the Kerrville Easter Festival (held this year on April 8, 2023) and the Kerrville Easter Bike Ride (April 7-9, 2023).
The Texas Masters of Fine Art Show (May 26-28, 2023) overlaps with the famous Kerrville Folk Festival (May 25-June 11, 2023), and the height of summer brings Kerrville’s Fourth on the River, scheduled for July 4.
Fall sees the Kerrville Triathlon Festival and the Texas State Arts & Crafts Fair on the same weekend — September 23-24, 2023 — with the Kerrville RiverFest and Kerrville Chalk Festival following October 14 and 15, 2023.
The Texas Furniture Makers Show is scheduled for November 2-December 15, 2023, and lots of folks turn out for the Kerrville Renaissance Festival that runs weekends in late January and early February.
Kerrville’s mild weather allows for outdoor activities year-round. Hop aboard the Hill Country River Rat, a unique outdoor river activity where visitors can peddle to provide horsepower on a 25-foot-long, custom-made, 12-passenger pontoon boat.
Aside from water fun on the Guadalupe River, biking is also a popular outdoor activity. Pedal leisurely on the 10-foot-wide Kerrville River Trail, the city’s unofficial crown jewel, that parallels the Guadalupe for six miles. You can also walk your dog, go for a run, or relax on a bench and spot birds in the shade of Kerrville’s signature cypress trees.
There are multiple trail segments and trailheads that can be accessed along the Kerrville River Trail, notably Kerrville-Schriener Park and Louise Hays Park.
At 517 acres, Kerrville-Schriener is the largest municipal park in Kerrville, offering plenty of green space with a playground, butterfly garden, sand volleyball, basketball, 10-plus miles of hike and bike trails, river access, and more.
The popular Louise Hays Park features an interactive fountain, a playground, pavilions, trail heads, numerous picnic areas, and a stage that hosts music and dance performances. Louise Hays Park is also home to a variety of special events, such as Get Outdoors Day, Kerrville’s Fourth on the River, and the Kerrville Triathlon Festival.
To learn about the different critters and creatures that call Kerrville home, the Riverside Nature Center is the perfect place to explore. Wander through the gardens, educational exhibits, a gift shop, and much more.
Additional outdoor activities include golfing at Kerrvilles’ three golf courses — Scott Schreiner Golf Course, Comanche Trace, and The Riverhill Country Club — playing tennis at the HEB Tennis Center, and hunting at Y.O. Ranch or Shonto Ranch.
Time to eat
Enjoy dining with a view of the Hill Country and the Guadalupe River while exploring the craft food and beverage scene when you dine in Kerrville. From upscale dining experiences and wine tasting opportunities to delicious taco and coffee spots on the go, there's no shortage of choices.
For a meal with a view, check out 1011 Bistro, Cafe at the Ridge, Thai Ocha, Pinnacle Grill, and Billy Gene’s. Texas tacos are obviously a must, so head to El Sol De Mexico, Mary’s Tacos, Taqueria Jalisco, El Jimador Restaurant & Bar, and Rita’s Famous Tacos.
Make sure to sample the local libations during your stay — Kerrville is located in the Hill Country after all. Turtle Creek Olives & Vines, Kerrville Hills Winery, and Wine-O-Bout It satisfy vino connoisseurs, while craft brew enthusiasts will cheers to options like Pint & Plow Brewing Co., Basement Brewers of Texas, and Trailhead Beer Garden.
Other popular eateries include Bumdoodlers Lunch Company, Francisco’s Restaurant, Grape Juice, and Rails: A Cafe at The Depot.
Shop to it
Visitors flock to downtown Kerrville to explore upscale shops as well as unique boutiques and antique stores. Schreiner Goods stocks a curated selection of women’s clothing, accessories, and stylish home goods, while Rustic Elegance is a home furnishing aficionado's dream store.
Stop by Creations, a destination for fabric artists; shop for crystals and other mystical items at The Fairy Moon Emporium; or go antique hunting at Sunrise Antique Mall. Of course, shopping for a piece of James Avery jewelry is a given while in Kerrville!
Rest your head
The River Trail Cottages are a fun way to depart from the normal hotel experience, with a unique variety of retro overnight options like Motor Court Cottages, newly built midcentury-themed Depot Alley or River View cottages, and vintage RVs filled with modern amenities.
At the River House, all guest rooms offer direct access to the river and the Kerrville River Trail that leads straight through downtown. The facilities also come with grills, bicycles, river floats, fishing poles, kayaks, and backyard games.
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Guadalupe River Camp Resort is the perfect place for families traveling with little ones. Enjoy putt-putt, jumbo-sized jumping pillows, laser tag, playgrounds, and a water slide park.
For those looking for a resort feel, a stay at Inn of the Hills Hotel & Conference Center is an excellent choice. The hotel features a courtyard, swimming pools, 21,000-square-foot conference center, delicious dining at the full-service restaurant, and the Inn Pub, which features entertainment on the weekends and is the only dance hall in Kerrville.
Since 1985, the World Affairs Council has honored an individual who has significantly contributed to San Antonio's growth as an international city. Last week, the Council celebrated a giant in the city's social justice community, Waheeda Thawerbhoy Kara, as International Citizen of the Year.
Kara's commitment to community service sprung out of hardship. She lost her father during childhood as her family fled genocide in her native Bangladesh. But the challenges of being a young refugee only ignited a lifelong devotion to giving back. Guided by her Shia Ismaili Muslim faith, she has been a civic service force for over 35 years.
According to a release, Kara has been working with the City of San Antonio since 2008, when she co-developed the Muslim Cultural Heritage Society. Among her cultural contributions are spearheading the first city-sponsored Eid Festival and bringing the Aga Khan Foundation's Partnership Walk to San Antonio. More recently, she was selected to serve on the Mayor's Council on Police Community Relations.
Her involvement with nonprofits has spanned more than 35 years. Currently, she is the president of the National Inter-organizational Collaborative, an Interfaith Committee member at San Antonio Food Bank, and an Advisory Board member at UTHSC Mays Cancer Center. The work has led to widespread recognition, including being named a Woman of Substance by Dream Week and being honored by a state resolution.
"Waheeda Thawerbhoy Kara is the epitome of international citizenship," said Mayor Ron Nirenberg via release. "Her story is one of tireless work on behalf of our community and our world through an array of nonprofits..."
Kara was honored on March 15 at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. The award ceremony included a keynote speech from Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Doris Kearns Goodwin.
America’s seemingly unceasing obsession with murders and/or serial killers has mainly shown itself in recent years via true crime TV shows and podcasts. But sometimes a movie can be just as effective, and one long-ago series of killings is getting a fresh look in the new Hulu film, Boston Strangler.
Taking a page from the Spotlight/She Said book, the film approaches the story from the angle of the newspaper reporters who broke it in the first place. In the early 1960s, Loretta McLaughlin (Keira Knightley) works as a lifestyle reporter at the Boston Record American but wants to move into crime reporting. When she notices a pattern in a recent spate of murders, McLaughlin convinces her boss, Jack Maclaine (Chris Cooper), to let her look deeper into possible connections.
When she finds out all the women had stockings tied in a bow around their necks, she publishes a story about the possible serial killer, opening up a can of worms that gets major pushback from the Boston police. Soon, she and fellow reporter Jean Cole (Carrie Coon) are consumed by the case, with the killer striking again multiple times, including in other cities.
Written and directed by Matt Ruskin, the film is stylish in both its execution and storytelling. Even though the name “Boston Strangler” might sound familiar to many people, the details of the case – especially the fact that two women were at the forefront of covering it – are not as widely known. The film drills down on just how frustrating the case was on all sides, leading the media and the police into a symbiotic search for answers.
Ruskin does an effective job of setting the scene, focusing on the inherent sexism of the day that women like Loretta and Jean faced without letting that aspect overpower the story. While perhaps not to the degree as in She Said, the film shows how ably – and sometimes not - the two women balance the demands of being both reporters and wives/mothers.
The film is also able to set the tone of fear that pervaded in the city at the time without being overly gratuitous. There are a few murder scenes, as well as the aftermath of murders, and Ruskin shows just enough to get the point across, never lingering on the more disturbing aspects. The casting of the various suspects helps the tone, especially David Dastmalchian as prime suspect Albert DeSalvo.
Knightley, whose recent films have been less high-profile than earlier in her career, puts in a great performance here. She demonstrates the strength someone like Loretta would need to overcome the obstacles put in her way. Coon is good, although because her character isn’t explored as much, she comes off as a little one-note. Also respectable in supporting roles are Cooper, Alessandro Nivola, and Rory Cochrane.
Boston Strangler is a solid drama that nods toward the fascination with serial killers with an approach that is bit more palatable. The work of journalists like Loretta McLaughlin in situations like the one depicted is invaluable, and this film deftly shows exactly why.